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EMI CONSULTING NAMES WIL MARQUARDT DIRECTOR OF FINANCE AND OPERATIONS

Posted By Lisa Perry, Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Seattle, WA (April 17, 2018) – EMI Consulting is pleased to announce the appointment of Wil Marquardt as Director of Finance and Operations. He will be responsible for driving financial strategy, planning, and processes, as well as business operations as an integral part of the company’s growth strategy.

 

Prior to joining EMI Consulting, Wil held senior consulting positions at SumBridge, Strong-Bridge, and Two Degrees consulting firms, and he’s worked with companies as varied as Starbucks and T-Mobile. While the common thread in these engagements was primarily finance and operational management, Wil has also applied his skillset to the leadership of customer experience and technology initiatives. He also held tenure as Vice President at Washington Mutual, where he was charged with several business-imperative directives, including operational excellence and long-term forecasting.

 

“Wil’s deep and varied background creates the perfect blend of financial acumen and operational experience needed to help grow and sustain our firm,” explained EMI Consulting President Julie Rey. “His experience as a consultant also brings an understanding of the unique pressures of the space, which I believe is vital for this role.”  

 

Julie added, “Wil is also an approachable and well-respected person, who has a passion for the environment, which aligns well with our desire to cultivate a Utility of Future initiative.”

 

In fact, Wil chose the University of Washington for his MBA specifically for their concentration in environmental management. He explained, "I chose my MBA concentration because environmental sustainability is important to me, and I genuinely believed my career would eventually intersect.”

 

“EMI Consulting is in a really strong position – there is significant change stirring in the industry, great business opportunities, and this very committed and talented group of people I get to work alongside will help to realize the goals of a sustainable, clean energy future for utilities and their customers,” said Wil. “I am thrilled to use my background and experience to help drive important growth goals and set the company on course for long-term financial success.”

 

ABOUT EMI CONSULTING

EMI Consulting advises electric and gas utilities nationwide on business strategies related to new market opportunities, distributed and renewable energy, energy efficiency, and customer engagement. Founded in 1995, the company is recognized for industry leadership in three key areas: strategy and evaluation, data analytics and modeling, and customer experience research. Headquartered in Seattle, the company also employs staff in Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Portland, and Los Angeles. More information is available at www.emiconsulting.com.  

 

Contact:

Wil Marquardt

(206) 621-1160

wmarquardt@emiconsulting.com

 

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Tags:  Consultant  Consulting  Director  Energy Efficiency  Finance  New Hire 

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New energyOrbit Marketplace Platform Streamlines Energy Efficiency and Customer Engagement for Utility Commercial & Industrial Customers

Posted By Jason Fox, Monday, April 9, 2018

The platform serves as a centralized location for utility customers and service providers to more easily browse, and compare rebate and energy efficiency products and programs


San Francisco, CA, April 4, 2017 - Understanding the necessity of a streamlined online shopping experience for energy efficiency (EE) and rebate customers, demand-side management (DSM) software energyOrbit has launched the energyOrbit Marketplace portal for selecting and applying for products and incentives in one centralized platform. The energyOrbit Marketplace which is housed and powered on the Salesforce platform combines and simplifies the application process for all EE/DSM offers from utilities and program administrators into one single platform, making it accessible to any customer and service providers in any state. This removes a variety of barriers to customer participation, including taking the application process from paper to an online application portal and database backend, aiming to increase in EE/DSM program participation and program administrator productivity, namely, achieve energy savings goals at a lower cost per unit of energy saved.


“Our marketplace product is unique in the C&I space for those tasked with the often arduous job of applying for energy efficiency rebates and incentives,” said Udi Merhav, CEO of energyOrbit. “By giving the public a shopping-like experience, DSM programs can maximize customer applications, thereby, helping utilities to fully utilize DSM budgets before the end of a program  cycle and helping utilities and states as a whole to reach energy efficiency targets faster with less overhead. The energyOrbit Marketplace was created to combat the issue of both ‘form fatigue’ and the sporadic and disjointed nature of current application programs.”


Additionally, the energyOrbit Marketplace enhances customer engagement opportunities through enhanced collaboration in the EE eco-system. Current methods often fail to offer  familiar e-commerce interfaces where customers can get conveniently participate in the EE economy and reap benefits. Presently, the burden is on customers to find out which programs they are eligible for resulting in a sluggish and inefficient process.


“Despite more states pushing for more energy efficiency agendas, inadequate participation levels leave allocated budgets unused, and customers continuing to use energy inefficiently. Coupled with paper-based applications and manually entered spreadsheets to track an EE/DSM program’s progress, and utilities are left with execution that is both costly and time consuming for everyone involved,” continued Merhav. “What customers want is the familiar ‘Amazon-style” shopping cart experience they get everywhere else on the web. They are accustomed to these intuitive and helpful interfaces in a variety of other industries, and the utility industry owes it to their customers to provide that same level of customer experience in the EE/DSM space. We are pleased to offer this solution which offers a brand new layer of visibility and functionality to the DSM space that’s never been seen before.”


Through the energyOrbit marketplace, any customer can search for any eligible programs and energy efficiency products, whether their project is new construction or a retrofit. They can also search for two fuel types at once, such as electricity and gas, without starting a new search or having to double enter their information. Customers also have the option to shop and view what is in their shopping cart without having to log in; this gives them the option to see what incentive programs they would like to apply for before they decide to register. Other key features include user-friendly search and browse functionality, listing all measures in a solitary list, a real-time tracker that showcases the number of measures and incentives collected and robust analytical features for convenient data mining.


“It only makes sense that utilities come together to enhance customer engagement through collaborative digital solutions in manners customers are already accustomed to,” continued Merhav. “Comprehensive online shopping portals for EE/DSM programs is an excellent place to start, where significant amounts of time can be saved for all parties involved. It behooves utilities to look at each other as partners instead of competitors and adopted collaborative marketplaces for their customers and service providers in the pursuit of operations efficiencies toward achieving a cleaner economy. Look no further to New England to see that collaboration between utilities and program administrators to better serve their customers is already taking place.”




About energyOrbit


Founded in 2007 and based in San Francisco, California, energyOrbit is the market leading solution for cloud energy efficiency and Demand-Side Management operations. energyOrbit is deployed with leading utilities and third-party implementers across North America, enabling customers to realize an average of 75 percent improved efficiency and operational savings in their DSM operations. energyOrbit empowers utilities to deploy DSM programs in hours, scale programs and portfolios efficiently, and to streamline utility customer relationships, partners, and internal communications seamlessly.


As of 2016, energyOrbit has helped utilities and third-party implementers collectively manage more than 13.245 TWh of electricity savings. Additionally, 5,617 MW of peak demand has been reduced by efficiency measures tracked by energyOrbit. More than $1.6 billion in incentive dollars managed and prepared for payment. For more information on energyOrbit, please visit www.energyorbit.com and follow up on Twitter (@energyOrbit) and on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/energyorbit-formerly-crmorbit-/).


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Big Data is no Substitute for Good Data

Posted By Karen Morris, Tuesday, April 3, 2018

 

It seems like everyone has now included the buzzwords of artificial intelligence, machine learning, business analytics, and energy insights … but they still have no idea what good data really looks like.

They run around bragging about what they think they can do with smart grid data using fancy talk about Hadoop and other big data engines.  But, as my professors always told me about energy modeling: garbage in – garbage out.

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Tags:  big data smart grid energy analysis apogee interac 

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Apogee Endorses ADVANCE: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities

Posted By Karen Morris, Monday, April 2, 2018

Apogee Endorses ADVANCE: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities

Empowering the Advancement of Women in Energy

For Immediate Release:

Atlanta, GA - April 3, 2018, Apogee Interactive announced today their endorsement of ADVANCE: The Power Conference for Women in Utilities.  The event, organized by Conferences Connect and hosted at Southern Company Gas in Atlanta on April 16th and 17th, will include presentations by women in leadership positions from utilities like Georgia Power, Exelon, Eversource, NiSource, and many more. Apogee Interactive’s Ann Fracas, Director of Sales, will moderate and summarize the key issues of the program.

Susan Gilbert, CEO and Co-Founder of Apogee Interactive, a woman owned business that has served utilities exclusively for more than 25 years remembers, “When I began my career, women in the energy industry were rare. Women didn’t have the mentors, role models, coaches, or networks that were available to their male counterparts.” She continued, “So many strong women persevered and made a difference. This meeting is a chance for those pioneers to give back and encourage the women following them.”

Ashley Baptiste, CEO, Conferences Connect, the event producer explained, “When the topic of ‘Women in Utilities’ was raised, I thought ‘Is this really still an issue?’ After some quick research on current statistics, we realize that yes – this is an issue, and we need to bring utilities together to learn from each other.” Ashley continued, “This conference has a dual mission: 1) to help utilities learn how to attract, retain, mentor and advance women in their organizations and 2) to help utility professionals gain the skills and networking to advance their careers.”

Southern Company Gas, the conference host, has offered their meeting facility in Atlanta.  In addition, Laura Creekmur, Vice President of Corporate Communications at Southern Company Gas will be featured on the agenda.  

To learn more about this inspiring event empowering the advancement of women in the energy industry visit www.utilityevents.com.

About Apogee:

Apogee Interactive is a woman-owned business and is the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. As a partner with the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers digital proactive and personalized digital communication to hundreds of North American utilities from coast to coast, including some of the largest and most progressive, such as Southern Company (NYSE: SO), ConEd (NYSE: ED), PSEG (NYSE: PEG), and Tucson Electric Power (NYSE: TEP). For more information visit www.apogee.net or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/99046/.

About Conferences Connect:

Conferences Connect is a full-service conference firm specializing in creating events that foster engagement. This woman-owned business targets domestic and international clients and develops events specifically for the energy industry. Content seekers meet content providers. Solution providers meet solution seekers. Learn more at www.utilityevents.com.

Through content focused events, attendees are encouraged to establish a network with each other – to connect – and establish lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.

 

Contact: Karen Morris kmorris@apogee.net or 678-684-6801

 

Tags:  Apogee Interactive Women in Energy 

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Apogee's Energy News

Posted By Karen Morris, Friday, March 23, 2018
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Franklin Energy Acquires PlanetEcosystems

Posted By Jamie Delk, Monday, March 19, 2018

Franklin Energy Acquires PlanetEcosystems

Acquisition to extend Franklin Energy’s customer engagement capabilities.

Franklin Energy, a leading national demand side management implementation firm, announced today that it has acquired San Francisco-based PlanetEcosystems, developer of an award-winning customer engagement platform.

“We are continuously looking for ways to innovate and opportunities to improve our utility-client service offerings,” said Paul Schueller, Franklin Energy’s founder and CEO. “In this rapidly changing and advancing industry, this acquisition allows us to look to the future. It will provide our utility client’s customers with a better experience, whether that’s through a personalized customer journey, account portals that dynamically adjust to behavior, or expanded marketplace features in our online stores.”

This acquisition allows the team to provide more value to utility clients by seamlessly connecting energy efficiency, demand response and other distributed energy resources programs through automated participation paths tailored to customers’ needs and desires. The result is portfolio-level programs implemented in a more customer-centric and engaging way.

“The joining of these companies allows for our clients to dramatically expand their service offerings to their customers – from marketplaces to home control and other automated wants and needs,” said Rory Jones, co-founder and president of PlanetEcosystems. “These offerings are particularly important as the utility of the future comes into focus, and our new SaaS offerings provide an easy, low cost and rapidly-deployed solution set.”

“Our expertise is in customer engagement and technology, while Franklin Energy is the expert in utility program implementation,” said Steve Malloy, co-founder and senior vice president of PlanetEcosystems. “Together we will simplify the experience for utility customers by leveraging technology to streamline and integrate program delivery. Together we can deliver a comprehensive, seamless customer journey that is easy for customers to participate in and promotes deeper program participation.”

About Franklin Energy 
With over two decades of both energy efficiency and demand response experience, Franklin Energy designs and implements grid optimization programs for utility, state and municipality clients nationwide and into Canada. The firm’s expertise pinpoints goal-focused solutions for its clients and their customers across residential, multifamily, small business and commercial/industrial markets. As home of Efficiency@Work, Franklin Energy integrates all customer interaction including online application processing and in-field data collection through its technology suite. Franklin Energy provides education based programs and kits under our Resource Action Programs brand.

Tags:  customer engagement  digital  energy efficiency  Franklin Energy  Franklin Energy Services  Franklin Energy Services LLC  planet ecosystems  planetecosystems  utilityenergy 

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Why Personalization Matters white paper

Posted By Ryan Gooch, Friday, March 9, 2018

 

The world is a really noisy place. It can be incredibly challenging to deliver messaging to your customers that gets their attention and gets results. Your best chance is to personalize your communication and engage customers at the individual level at every touch point. The right approach to personalization is good for both you AND your customer, helping you become a trusted purveyor of useful, relevant content. While email is one of the most impactful and cost-effective channels for personalizing your messaging to customers, the same level of personalization can be applied across all channels and initiatives. This is great news, because now more than ever, utilities need to connect with customers on a more meaningful level. Personalization is a strategic imperative.

 

Ryan Gooch, Director of Customer Success
Fivework
ryan@fiveworx.com

Download File (PDF)

Tags:  customer engagement  customer engagement digital  customer satisfaction  digital engagement  fiveworx  personalization  white paper 

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Diversity and Women in the Energy Industry

Posted By Kelly Mulder, Thursday, March 1, 2018

Takeaways from the 2018 AESP Conference Leadership Roundtable

I’ve been attending Association for Energy Services Professionals (AESP) conferences, sessions, and brown bags for almost 10 years, but I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this Diversity and Women roundtable. First, the room for the session was on a different floor from the other conference sessions and was also smaller thant the rest. For once I was early (I'm usually trying to squeeze in as many sessions as possible), so I was able to slowly watch as that small room filled up to standing room only. What a  great sight to see! The session room may have been small, but this was not a disadvantage. In fact, it created an intimate setting and led to great interactions between the moderator, panelists, and attendees.

Diversity and Women are obviously very relevant topics in the energy industry and in the world today. But do we ever get a chance to have an honest and open conversation? In a space that is welcoming, non-judgmental, and our careers don’t feel on the line? Better yet, with individuals facing similar discussions in the same or similar industries? This is what AESP is all about. Sessions like this are what make AESP, as an organization, dynamic and ensure we can continue to advanceour industry through discussions like this that provide the best types of professional developmentand support for everyone.

My personal key takeaways from this roundtable include the following:

  • Get yourself a personal Board of Directors. That is, mentors, sponsors, friends, and family that take an interest in helping you develop your career.
  • Be intentional with and plan your career.
  • Do your homework early.
  • Know the key stakeholders in your company.
  • Take risks—especially in the beginning of your career.
  • Speak up!
  • Remember where you begin isn’t where you will necessarily end up.
  • Make connections in your industry.
  • Words matter. “I’m a mom AND a marketing professional dedicated to my work.”‘ (Not “I’m a professional, but also a mom”).

Some takeaways for organizations include the following:

  • Create a deliberate gender and diversity plan.
  • Measure successes from that plan and adapt as needed, regularly.
  • Create a level playing field.
  • Foster mentorships for everyone. (Men and women can be mentors to men and women alike).
  • Lead by example. Lead and live your new culture at every level of the organization.

 

Want to chat about it? Give me a call, email, or tweet @KelEfficiency and I’d love to start a conversation. The moderator and panelists listed below would also love to hear from you.

Session Overview

Moderator: Quinn Parker, AESP

Speakers: Michelle Branigan, Electricity Human Resources Canada; Sabrina M. Brooks, PECO; and Kim Winslow, KCP&L

AESP is continually seeking ways to serve a diverse and evolving energy industry. This Leadership Roundtable will be a facilitated discussion in an intimate setting that will be focused on diversity and the growth of women leaders within the industry. Three successful female leaders will share their perspectives on diversity in the energy/utility industry, as well as their own career trajectory. This will be a productive session wherein attendees can learn more about the state of workforce diversity in the energy industry, be inspired by the accomplishments and careers of these leaders, and come away with actionable insights to apply to their own careers.

AESP Mission Statement

We are a dynamic community of energy professionals dedicated to advancing the industry through professional development, networking, and supporting for a resilient, sustainable energy future.


 

Tags:  #AESP18  Diversity  Energy Efficiency  KPC&L  Leadership  Nexant  PECO  Women 

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Proven Strategies for Building Email & Mobile Lists

Posted By Karen Morris, Monday, February 19, 2018

Apogee Institute recently hosted an event highlighting digital customer engagement where panelist from  E Source, Jackson EMC, PPL, LCEC, and Duke Energy shared their story. Keenan Samuelson, Analyst & CCXP, of E Source laid the groundwork outlining his Utility Marketing Survey. Keenan named the top three strategies for collecting digital contact information as automated capture, such as registering for and online account, online service orders or online bill pay, marketing efforts, through direct contact from the call center, and a poll strategy, giving customers something of value in return for information such as bill explanations, payment reminders, outage updates and energy use alerts.

Shared challenges faced by utilities named during the presentations where:

  • Conservative policies: Proving to utility executives that increased customer satisfaction is directly related to frequent, valuable, information exchange through multiple channels.
  • Antiquated CIS portals: Difficulty storing and collecting data through call center contact due to missing fields for email or mobile.
  • Regulation: SMS messaging needs consent and record retention, email requires SPAM compliance and list maintenance. Processes need to be set up by utilities to comply.

How are utilities meeting these challenges?

Amy Bryan, Director of Residential Marketing, Jackson EMC, has ranked in the top 5 for customer satisfaction in her segment consistently since 2005 but, faced the challenge of conservative communications policies. To convince management, she launched a pilot that delivered value through personalized video bill explanation, triggered when the customer’s bill was higher than usual. Then energy summary reports were sent, each with a call to action. Surveys show the emails received a 90% satisfaction rating with less than 1% choosing not to receive the emails. Starting with only 50 thousand emails collected through paperless billing and call centers, in 2018 Bryan will launch advertising campaigns that drive members to a preference center allowing customers to opt-in, increasing their digital reach. Delivering value made the difference.

Susan Smith, Customer Experience Specialist, PPL, believes in the power of digital communications, her paperless billing campaign increased enrollment by 60%. Her biggest obstacle was collecting text consent. There was no way to know if the phone number on file was mobile. Her solution was to create a screen pop in the CIS portal that asks the CSR to explain the benefits of email and text messaging and gain the consent needed to send information. CSR’s efforts had an 86% success rate. She also developed a preference center, that proved 83% successful, and IVR prompts that delivered a 56% success rate. Getting the call center on board was key but Susan sees all customer contact points as opportunities.

Joe Padgett, Director of Customer Care, LCEC, discovered his customers wanted digital communications 24/7. In 2010 he had only 20% of his customer’s emails. He then began to put accountability in place through performance reviews that held CSRs responsible for collecting and updating information. Today he has 86% of his customer’s email information. He then delivered value through bill notifications and high bill alerts. Other tactics include a preference center, mail, and an email customer care box. He also uses a third-party vendor to keep his email database purged of bad emails.

Sandra Buzzard and Tamarah Delevan, Digital Engagement Team, Duke Energy have extended their digital reach by email from 26% in 2016 to 58% by the end of 2017. How did they do it? CSRs collect emails from inbound calls. Email addresses are used for user names such as start/stop services on the web, and online accounts. Duke Energy has a preference center on their website also accessible on Facebook. They have also purchased lists to match up email addresses with name, addresses, and phone numbers.

If your goal is to increase customer satisfaction through customer engagement it is vital to give personalized messaging that brings value. To do this effectively, the first step is gathering correct emails and mobile numbers. Forward-thinking utilities are paving the way to a better customer experience. If you would like to listen to the full presentation you can download the recording here.

Contact Karen Morris at 678-684-6801 or kmorris@apogee.net for more information.

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Tags:  Apogee Interactive  Customer Engagement Residential Programs  digital engagement 

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Apogee Launches Envoy an Extensive Digital Engagement Platform for Utilities

Posted By Karen Morris, Wednesday, February 14, 2018

#741 - DI - Apogee - V2 from Apogee Interactive on Vimeo.

Personalized Utility Communications Increases Customer Satisfaction by 16%

Atlanta, GA – Feb. 15, 2018, Apogee Interactive, Inc. announced today their latest innovation, Envoy, a complete outbound communications platform for utility customer communications. This end-to-end digital engagement strategy includes personalized energy bill analysis videos, mid-cycle and threshold alerts, email messaging, and periodic energy summary reports. Findings from pilot programs studied over the last several years prove stellar results including increased customer satisfaction and program participation. Another powerful statistic is Apogee’s outbound messaging is achieving click through rates more than 30 times the industry average.

One large investor-owned utility analyzed the effectiveness of energy summary reports with a control group of 40,000 participants. This group saw a 16% increase in customer satisfaction with no negative impact. Another pilot program featuring personalized video bill analysis, reported that 98% of the video recipients wanted to continue receiving the videos and 93% reported they felt this was an effective way of communicating why the utility bill changed from month to month.    

Studies also prove high bills generate more calls to the call center than outages; the Envoy solution includes threshold and mid-cycle alerts that put the customer in control of their energy use, and reduces utility operating costs. By proactively communicating with customers through text or email alerts gives them a chance to make a difference in behavior that impacts their bill before they make a call.

“Today’s energy customers are more demanding; they expect personalized, relevant digital engagement with the companies they do business with” stated Lynn England, V. P. of Customer Engagement, Apogee Interactive, “We are finding our early adopters are meeting and exceeding their goals using the Envoy platform,” he continued. “Successful utility professionals are embracing digital channels and realizing its impact on program participation, revenue generation, and cost reduction.”

Susan Gilbert, CEO & President of Apogee added, “Apogee’s energy modeling was RESNET rated at the highest “Home Rating” level and ranked most accurate by a sizeable margin.  This enables utilities to provide consistent, correct information across all communications channels while positioning utility providers as trusted source of energy information.”

JD Power reports in their 2017 Residential Utility Customer Satisfaction Study that digital communications between utilities and their customers has risen approximately 5% in the past year. JD Power also attributes higher customer satisfaction scores to multi-channel communications.

Apogee will formally unveil its outbound communications platform Envoy at the Association of Energy Service Professionals 2018 National conference in New Orleans, LA on February 19th.

About Apogee Interactive, Inc.

Apogee Interactive is nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement software services for utilities. A partner with the utility industry since 1993, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers digital proactive, personalized communication to hundreds of North American utilities from coast to coast including some of the largest most progressive such as Southern Company (NYSE: SO), ConEd (NYSE: ED), PSEG (NYSE: PEG), and Tucson Electric Power (NYSE: TEP). For more information visit www.apogee.net  or LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/99046/

 Apogee Contact: Karen Morris – 678-684-6801 – kmorris@apogee.net

 

Tags:  Apogee Interactive  customer engagement digital  Customer EngagementResidential Programs 

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